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The 1970s Boston Red Sox


THE RED SOX OF 1968-80

As a new generation of Red Sox fans, one untainted by 86 years of agony, comes of age, it will always be worthwhile to remind them what their forebears endured.

Read a year-by-year narrative,
including the great pennant season of 1975


The 1970s were the decade that brought Boston’s Agony to the forefront. While the infamous Babe Ruth trade took place in 1918, the Red Sox were simply a lousy team through the 1920s and 1930s. You can’t dash the hopes of your fans when you never raise them to begin with. There was a good stretch from 1946-49 and the first real tastes of heartbreak, before the franchise again disappeared from the radar for a couple decades.

1967 was when things began to change. The Red Sox won a miracle pennant that year. Even though they lost a seven-game World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, there were no recriminations or talk of a jinx. There was simply appreciation of a special season and an acknowledgment that, yes, the Cards were a little bit better.

But that’s also the year that permanently raised the bar for the Red Sox. There was only one step left to take and that was the final one. The ensuing decade saw a lot of good baseball played in Fenway Park…but seasons that always ended in some sort of agony.

Boston’s Agony looks at each season in this era of 1968-80, The Heartbreak Decade of Boston Red Sox history. You’ll read about the following…

*How Boston came off the 1967 pennant and established that they were no one-year wonder, continuing to play winning baseball, even if they were off the pace of the league’s elite. Those first four post-Impossible Dream years paved the way for the heartbreak of 1972 and the utter collapse of 1974.

*The long-awaited return to postseason play in 1975, from winning the AL East with room to spare, to ending MLB’s great dynasty of the early 1970s to a heroic battle in the World Series that came up just one run short.

*Injury-riddled disappointment in 1976 and losing a tough AL East race in 1977 set the stage for the worst heartbreak of all—blowing a big division lead against the Yankees and losing an epic one-game playoff in Fenway Park to end 1978.

*The gradual fade of 1979 and 1980. The Red Sox were still a winning team in those years, but it was apparent the window on winning a World Series had closed.

You’ll read about the great players of this era–from Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli early on to the arrival of Jim Rice and Fred Lynn. From Carlton Fisk to Dwight Evans From Luis Tiant to Bill Lee.

And above all, the great Carl Yastrzemski–whose pursuit of a title was directly linked with the franchise. 

It’s all here. The great players and memorable moments. The reasons for heartbreak and the reasons to look back with fondness. 

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